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Oven-baked Greek Butter Beans Recipe




  • 250 g dried gigantes beans, or butter beans, soaked in water for 24 hours
  • 1 fresh or dried bay leaf
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • 500g vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 2tsp clear honey
  • 2tbsp tomato purée
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh oregano, flat-leaf parsley, basil or dill
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • crusty bread, to serve


Drain the beans, and put in a saucepan with fresh water to cover. Bring to the boil and boil fairly vigorously for 10 minutes, then drain again. With fresh water and the bay leaf, bring back to the boil and simmer very gently for 45 minutes, until the beans are quite tender but not fully cooked. Take off the heat and leave in the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 160°C, gas 3.

While the beans are cooking, gently sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil in another saucepan, until they soften and smell sweet. Stir in the dried oregano, cinnamon, tomatoes, honey and tomato purée and simmer together for 10 minutes.

Drain the beans, retaining the liquid.

Place the drained beans and tomato sauce in an ovenproof earthenware or cast-iron casserole dish, and stir well. Do not add salt at this stage. Heat the liquid in which the beans have cooked and pour enough of it over the contents of the casserole dish to barely cover the beans.

Bake the casserole, uncovered, in the oven for about 50 minutes, until the beans and the other vegetables are soft and thoroughly cooked, and the sauce is quite thick and concentrated. Check from time to time, and add a little more of the bean cooking liquid or a drizzle of olive oil if necessary to prevent everything drying out, but don’t drown it. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the fresh herbs and serve with good crusty bread and additional olive oil to sprinkle over the beans.

Recipe courtesy of Beans, Peas & Everything In Between by Vicky Jones, published by Ryland Peters & Small. Photography by William Reavell © Ryland Peters & Small


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